Military members honored at Stockbridge church

By Jason A. Smith


While several events are scheduled around the Southern Crescent today to mark Veterans Day, observances recognizing the sacrifices of America's military service personnel began earlier in the week.

On Sunday, a "Folding of the Flag" ceremony was held at Jodeco Baptist Church in Stockbridge. The event memorialized veterans who have perished in service to the country, and recognized military personnel in attendance.

Dwain Sayers, chairman of the board of deacons at Jodeco Baptist church, said one of the reasons for holding the ceremony was to educate those in attendance about the reverence the American flag deserves.

"A lot of people don't know what each fold means," Sayers said. Sunday's ceremony "was set up just like they would do a memorial for the military," he said.

Other military symbols featured in the ceremony, according to Sayers, included a M-4 rifle, combat boots and a helmet similar those used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sayers said his passion for honoring veterans is in his blood.

"My grandfather served as a medic in World War I, and my father was in the Korean War," he said. "I had two uncles who trained [in the Army] at Camp Toccoa. One was in the 506th [Infantry Regiment] Easy Company, and was part of the Band of Brothers. The other was in the 506th and the 517th."

Approximately 100 people attended the flag folding event, which also included a display dedicated to veterans from various U.S.-involved wars. Sayers said he is hopeful the younger members of the audience, in particular, will remember those who were honored in the event.

"I think young people need to know the sacrifices that were made," he said. "This [the flag folding] gives me an opportunity to share that with them."

McDonough private investigator Bill Dodd, who brought a military display to the church, was on hand for the flag folding ceremony. He said the practice of folding the flag properly is not often understood by the general public.

"When the flag is folded in a triangular shape, each fold is significant," he said.

Dodd said although a triangular fold is proper for memorial purposes, storing the flag in the same manner dishonors the flag. Instead, he said, the flag should be folded in a rectangle when being stored.

Dodd will take his patriotic display to the Hampton Train Depot on East Main Street, today, where it will be featured during a ceremony at 11 a.m.

Hampton Mayor R.W. Coley said visitors to his city may view another "breathtaking" memorial in honor of Veterans Day. He said 107 markers have been erected along Main Street to represent the military veterans with "connections" to the city.

"We just wanted to honor veterans in what we thought was a very meaningful way," said Coley. "You wouldn't believe the calls and comments we've gotten about them."